The Benefits of Constructive Criticism in Relationships: SIGNIFICANT OTHER

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I’m so excited to talk about how the relationships we have with our significant others can be improved so much through constructive feedback.  For those of you dropping in, this is part 3 of my 5 part series on how to give constructive criticism many types of relationships (family, friends, managers & mentees, friends) benefit from feedback.

YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER

When you’re in a serious relationship you’re constantly learning about yourself, your partner, and the things that make you soar, stagnate, or crumble.  My husband has helped me become a better individual and companion in SO many ways.

Not only has he been my number one supporter and confidant since day 1, he’s given me guidance and inspiration to work on my weaknesses and faults that no one else ever did before.  And I think I’ve also helped him improve and grow in several areas as well.

PAUSE, REWIND, THEN PUSH PLAY

Over time you can learn how to have difficult conversations together with your partner so you can attack and face problems straight on so things don’t fester.  Don’t have these types of conversations if you just had a fight and either of you are feeling angry or agitated.  Tell your significant you need to be alone for an hour or two to cool off first.

Before you have a serious conversation with each other, take the time to reflect on what is bothering you, and what is bothering your partner.  They are probably completely different things. Remember, for every issue you want to coach your significant on, think of several skills or tasks they’ve done well and BREATHE between each sentence.

STRENGTHEN YOUR FRIENDSHIP

You often hear happy couples say their spouse is their best friend.  I am a true believer in this.  Relationships often start off full of lust and excitement, but without a strong friendship neither person will be happy in the long run and the relationship will dissolve very easily.

Getting past the honeymoon stage in a relationship is when our biggest flaws and skeletons emerge.  If you throw in the towel and run, you’ll only feel safe and relieved temporarily.  Problems don’t disappear without solutions.  Please stand up for yourself if your partnership feels strained, stale, and off balance – and go talk to your significant or a counselor.  Let go of any stubbornness or fear that’s holding you back and try to put yourself in your partner’s shoes to visualize your own flaws too.

DON’T LET FEAR OR STUBBORNESS GET IN THE WAY

It takes courage, patience, and an open mind to make close-knit relationships work long term.  The tough conversations are worth it even if they involve tears, arguing, and admitting you screwed up.

The health and longevity of your relationship will require these types of candid conversations or your partnership will weaken over time and one or both of you will begin to want out.  Getting through the rough patches together is how we strengthen our love, build trust, and become more compatible.

EMBRACE YOUR DIFFERENCES

My husband and I have very different talents and skill sets.  This makes it frustrating sometimes when the other person can’t keep up or understand things as quickly.  But that’s also the beauty of it all because we have things we can teach each other, and we can help each other out.

Life is boring if you’re not learning new things and facing fresh challenges.  Find ways to leverage your different skill sets too, but don’t take each other for granted.  If one person is good at paying bills on time and handling money, the other person shouldn’t take that as an excuse to be totally clueless about your financial situation and goals as a couple.

CHANGE IS A GOOD THING

Understand that not every issue or flaw can be resolved in one conversation.  If you’re feeling completely overwhelmed and don’t know where to start though, it’s time to consult a relationship coach or a licensed therapist for help.

Relationships continually evolve and face new obstacles as we go through life changes, career moves, and new environments.  Don’t be naïve and think that the current state of your relationship is how it will stay forever.  We are constantly changing and being a happy, healthy, and successful couple takes effort, patience, and lots of open, constructive communication.

Untemplaters, when was the last time you had a heart to heart talk with your significant other about areas each of you can improve?  What are some of your boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife’s weaknesses that are putting strain on your relationship?

“Personal

Unconventional Guides

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Sam June 23, 2011 at 8:16 am

I agree with many of the things you’ve written. A spouse type relationship is such a work in progress. We shouldn’t keep what’s bothering us hidden. Instead, we should have the courtesy to bring things out in the open and work on them together.

My lady has amazing skills of organization and patience which I lack. As such, I learn and rely on her. I have other skills that are better. The goal is to maximize our respective strengths for the best outcome!

Sam

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Sydney June 23, 2011 at 8:39 am

Exactly. Being honest about our feelings and addressing problems on a continual basis helps so much. I sometimes say the wrong things without thinking how they sound or what they imply so I’m learning to think about what I’m trying to say before blurting something out. Sounds like you and your significant have a healthy relationship!

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krantcents June 23, 2011 at 10:41 am

My wife and I are a great team because she is strong where I am in weak and visa versa. She knows exactly what I need and I think I support her as well. It took time to get to this point (nearly 43 years married) , but we are closer today than ever.

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Sydney June 23, 2011 at 12:19 pm

Congrats on 43 years, that’s fantastic! Having a partner who knows what each other needs and being able to work together as a team is such amazing feeling. My life has changed so much since I met my husband. I’m glad to hear you and your wife are going strong!

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Jamie June 23, 2011 at 12:05 pm

My ex and I used to fight all the time. It was such a drain on my life and I couldn’t take it anymore. Maybe if we’d had talks without pointing fingers all the time things would have turned out differently, but I’ve closed that chapter and have moved on. These are great tips Sydney and I’ll keep them in mind for my next chapter.

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Sydney June 23, 2011 at 6:01 pm

Sorry to hear about your ex but it’s good you have moved on and don’t have regrets! Even if you weren’t fighting things may not have worked out. We aren’t compatible with some people and better you know now that she’s not the right partner for you than ten twenty years down the road. Best of luck with your new chapter and hope you find someone that you make a great team with!

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Sam June 23, 2011 at 3:47 pm

Yes, the best thing is to go through life with a trusted partner. I’d rather be broke and with someone than be rich and alone or with a very bad relationship.

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Sydney June 23, 2011 at 5:51 pm

I’m the same way. Sharing time with your significant other who is also your best friend is worth so much more than money!!

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Larry Lewis June 24, 2011 at 1:59 am

I find that for any relationship to flourish you have to learn to listen. It is equally iomportant to give each other time, to break away from all other distractions, and give ourselves completely to each other.

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Sydney June 24, 2011 at 12:36 pm

Thanks for your comment! Yes listening is definitely important and also maintaining eye contact with the one talking. This is easy to slip up on especially nowadays with so many things blinking and beeping around us on smart phones and such which can be so distracting. Just like we turn our phones off when we watch a movie or see a show, we need to put aside anything distracting when we have conversations and show we are engaged and paying attention.

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Jeff @ Sustainable life blog June 24, 2011 at 12:57 pm

I’d have to say that this is a great resource – I’ll definitely be tuning in for the rest of the series. As sam said, these relationships are always a work in progress. People change, grow, learn, etc all of the time, and if we enjoy their company and want them in our lives, we should help them and do it in a meaningful way.

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Sydney June 24, 2011 at 9:25 pm

Thanks Jeff! We really do change in so many ways all the time and we have to learn to adapt to these changes. Becoming an official couple or having a marriage certificate definitely doesn’t mean the relationship will be smooth sailing from there on. Life always has surprises for us and being able to work with each other to handle the ups and downs helps keep couples happy and together!

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